Mainpage: Mobbing in academe and beyond

Original webpage for
The Envy of Excellence

Webpage for
books about mobbing

K. Westhues


Update to

The Envy of Excellence,

two decades later,



Kenneth Westhues, University of Waterloo
Published online, June 2022




My most comprehensive book on academic mobbing, The Envy of Excellence, was first published as the new millennium began. The Edwin Mellen Press did a superb job not just of promoting the book but of making it an instrument of critical, collegial, collaborative learning. The press solicited pre-publication reviews of a beta edition from dozens of first-rate scholars in a variety of fields, invited essays in response to the book, and published nine of those essays as an appendix to the final edition. The resultant 500-page tome was priced in softcover at $30 initially. This low price put the book within reach of individual as well as institutional purchasers, and I was pleased at how many copies were sold.

Alas, the softcover went out of print after several years and the press repriced the hardcover in keeping with its standard practice of serving academic libraries. The new price was far beyond what individual book-buyers could afford. Currently, a new copy costs $300 if bought directly from the press. Used copies are priced as high as $600 from online sellers. As an author eager for readers, I am embarrassed by these prices.

In 2020, Mellen Press showed interest in publishing a new softcover edition with a preface or afterword from me updating the initial evidence and argument, and summarizing the fresh insights about academic mobbing that have accumulated over the past two decades. I welcomed the prospect of the new edition. My update grew to 20,000 words and went through several revisions in response to colleagues' comments.

Now, however, in the summer of 2022, plans for the new edition are on hold or abandoned. I am therefore making my update available for free online. The questions this update answers, on the basis of evidence since the book's initial publication, are as follows:

What are the consequences of mobbing for the target?

What are the consequences of mobbing for the mobbers?

What is my agenda, as a scientist of mobbing and related forms of human behaviour?

What progress in the science of mobbing has been made since 2000?

How have expert-witness assignments helped me refine my thinking about mobbing?

What are the main causes of mobbing I have been able to identify so far?

How has postmodernism, Susan Sontag's "new sensibility," contributed to mobbing in universities?

How is workplace mobbing like falling in love?

Click here for the update to The Envy of Excellence, two decades later, as PDF